DIASPEACE is a multi-disciplinary research project that seeks to generate evidence-based and policy-relevant knowledge about the ways in which diasporas play into the dynamics of conflict and peace in their countries of origin. The empirical focus of the project is on the Horn of Africa – a region where decades of violent conflict have resulted in state collapse and the dispersal of more than two million people. The social, political and financial remittances towards this region are significant: in the case of Somalia, for example, it has been estimated that remittances exceed both development aid and export revenues. The project involves multi-sited fieldwork, studying the activities of diaspora organizations and networks in Europe and in the Horn of Africa.
After mapping diaspora organizations from the Horn and conducting fieldwork on the impact of their transnational political activities, in this sub-project (labeled Work Package 4), we will study the interactions between European institutions and diasporas in conflict resolution and peace building. Firstly, diaspora members and groups attempt to influence political processes in their home country not only directly (through financial and social remittances) but also indirectly, through lobbying and advocacy activities. Secondly, government institutions and civil society in Europe have recognized the important role diasporas do or can play, and are developing ways to facilitate this role. Our aim is to study this two-way process, as well as develop policy recommendations on how to improve interactions and thus outcomes.